How King Charles’ school, where he dealt with bullies, shaped him

Britain’s new monarch, King Charles, spent his formative years at a Scottish boarding school where his late father, Prince Philip, had also studied and wanted his son to go, according to Reuters.

Charles was sent to Gordonstoun, a private boarding school on the north coast of Scotland, when he was 13. Along with developing an interest in the environment and the arts, he also dealt with bullies at boarding school.

Gordonstoun headmistress Lisa Kerr is proud the school has had the chance to teach an heir to the British throne. Lisa Kerr told Reuters: “For everyone at Gordonstoun it is a huge sense of pride to have been the first school to educate an heir to the British throne.”

Additionally, the school is proud of the fact that Charles has advanced what he learned in school. “What is more powerful for us is knowing that many of the attributes that Prince Charles exhibits as a monarch were developed here at Gordonstoun,” Kerr told Reuters.

King Charles found life at Gordonstoun difficult, especially the morning errands and cold showers.

Novelist William Boyd, who also studied with Charles at boarding school, said the monarch did not like his time at school, Reuters reported. In fact, in the words of Jonathan Dimbleby, the time spent there was “incarceration”.

In King Charles’s biography, Dimbleby writes: “As an adult, the Prince of Wales would insist that the decision to send him to Gordonstoun, which he considered at the time to be a prison term”, was actually beneficial, instilling in him the sense of responsibility and self-discipline without which he might have “drift”. “According to Jonathan Dimbleby, Charles once wrote home saying, ‘The people in my dorm are filthy. They throw slippers all night or hit me with pillows.. . I always wish I could go home.


However, King Charles himself praised the school and said it was not as bad as portrayed.

In 1975 in the House of Lords, King Charles said: ‘I am still amazed at the amount of rot Gordonstoun talks about and the careless use of old cliches used to describe it.’

“It was only difficult in the sense that it demanded more of you as an individual than most other schools, either mentally or physically. I’m lucky because I believe it taught me a lot about myself and my own abilities and disabilities. It taught me to accept challenges and take initiative.”


The Gordonstoun headmaster said there were ups and downs in everyone’s school days, when asked if Charles had been happy at school.

“But interestingly, Prince Charles himself said he was still amazed at the amount of rot Gordonstoun talks about… in many speeches he talked about the really positive impact his time here has had. had on his life,” Lisa said.

Lisa described Charles as a “studious young man” and that he mingled with people from a wide variety of backgrounds.

In addition, the king was fond of theater and music, participating in a number of school dramas and productions.

The students of the school were delighted to be on stage with their heir to the throne.


Alison Stockley, a retired physical education teacher from Gordonstoun, recalled that things would get more exciting when students knew King Charles was performing with them.

“Just being involved in the production of Gordonstoun was always exciting…And then when we found out Prince Charles was going to be involved as well…it made it more exciting,” Stockley told Reuters.

“We were pretty used to him being here. You saw him in the stores. He was involved in other things in the community…We knew he was very musical.”

In one of the shows named “The Pirates of Penzance“, Charles played the Pirate King. “He did very well,” she said.

Gordonstoun was founded by German educator Kurt Hahn in 1934.

(with contributions from Reuters)

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